Review

Song Review: Brave Girls – After We Ride

Brave Girls - After We RideBrave Girls’ 2021 resurgence has been a perfect storm. Not only did it kick off because of one of their best singles, but this viral attention has led to a new era of music that surpasses their already-strong back catalog. June’s Chi Mat Ba Ram quickly grew into a bonafide song of summer, coupled with a flawless mini album that drew upon K-pop’s past for an invigorating blast of nostalgia. Intent to soundtrack the entire season, Brave Girls have made a quick turnaround with After We Ride (술버릇 (운전만해 그후)) – a sequel to last year’s city pop single We Ride.

It would be disingenuous to remain unbiased about this song. It targets so many of my own musical sweet spots, pulling K-pop’s retro synth trend in a more band-driven direction. After We Ride has been described as “synth rock.” In other words, it’s got my name written all over it.

This starts with the instrumental — a shimmering blend of robust synth and buoyant rhythm guitar. The syncopated beat is everything I could ask for, charging forward with an energy that’s funky yet bittersweet. There’s a welcome fullness to this arrangement that creates a lush soundscape. Melodically, After We Ride is simple and repetitive, revisiting the same refrains in nuanced ways. This is to the song’s benefit, as the structure flows together naturally rather than become segmented pieces competing with one another. This adds great drive to the track, even if it never results in one knockout centerpiece. I expect this approach to pay off more and more as time goes on. After all, After We Ride is the kind of “tears on the dancefloor” anthem that feels absolutely timeless.

 Hooks 8
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 10
 RATING 9.25

22 thoughts on “Song Review: Brave Girls – After We Ride

  1. I don’t think you could ever get songs this polar opposite on the same day. SKZ’s has absolutely no melody, this is basically all melody.

    It was kind of samey to me, but this kind of samey appeals to me. 8.5 for me, Chi Mat Ba Ram still reigns supreme.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah this is the kind of pop song which can work without a super powerful central hook to hold its weight, and that’s just because every part of it is robust and catchy enough on its own. Call Your Girlfriend by Robyn comes to mind as an example.

    The chorus on this is pure bittersweet Brave Bros excellence (Stellar’s Crying, 9Muses’ Sleepless Night, Brave Girls’ Deepened…). I also appreciate that the producers went 80s without rehashing Blinding Lights/Take on Me. And the girls themselves have never sounded better, what a gorgeous vocal performance!

    PD. I saw on Twitter the other day that the girls had finished paying their trainee debts and that they were being paid for the first time. I’m just so, so happy for them, and I’d love it if they wanted to continue with the group!

    Liked by 10 people

  3. I don’t really like to give 10’s on first listen but this is outstanding. I love the instrumental, the vocal melodies and its overall progression. It’s extremely refreshing, and feels so empowering. Brave girls are on fire right now.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. It’s absolutely amazing how they’re able to deliver songs like CMBR and now After We Ride within a few months, and with such panache both times. I’m not exactly a sucker for synth sounds but songs like this exemplify everything that’s good about synth rock or whatever this genre is. This is so smooth, such great vocals, it’s beautiful. I heard of Brave Girls for the first time this year and I’m so glad I did!

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  5. It’s… wild to realize that they have released three of the best k-pop singles of the year. AND one of the best b-sides of the year too (Fever). That’s a home run!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. With this song, I believe Brave Girls have a chance to become the first group in TBL history to top the song-of-the-month list three months in a row. Honestly, I loved Chi Mat Ba Ram, I really liked Pool Party, but I think this tops both of them. I am not as crazy about this style as you are, but I can appreciate a strong and original melody, with a powerful arrangement. This is pretty fantastic.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. That final chorus is absolutely heavenly.

    As much as I’m loving the upbeat, groovy, energetic tracks K-pop 2021 has been delivering us (and personally I hope that doesn’t stop!), it’s nice to see a much more sentimental track this time around. And not just a sentimental song like a ballad where you can peacefully drift to sleep to, a song that still has their dancing shoes on and you can still bop your head to. “tears on the dancefloor” really is the best way to describe this song. It’s an incredible track.

    Fun fact: Interestingly this song has a different name, according to an online friend of mine. Apparently the Korean title is meant to refer to drinking (“Drinking Habit”) and not “After ‘We Ride'”.

    Also, Nick, could we perhaps see a Top 10 Brave Girls countdown from you soon (or eventually)?

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  8. I agree, this song is amazing! I’ve been wondering why it hasn’t been charting better even though it’s doing well on YouTube. Also, another question that I haven’t really seen discussed much is shouldn’t Brave Girls social media following be way higher by now? I’m really worried that Brave Entertainment is going to ruin things for Brave Girls again. It would be a shame to lose this group.

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